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Cook the Book: Nancy Silverton's Pizza Dough 

[Photograph: Sara Remington]

The beauty of Nancy Silverton's Pizza Dough is that she went about creating it from a bread baker's perspective stemming from her beginnings at L.A.'s La Brea Bakery. Her goal for the pizzas at Mozza was to create a dough with an open hole structure, where the just baked crust was full of big, irregular air pockets, giving it an airy cornice (or outer rim). For The Mozza Cookbook, Silverton tweaked her dough recipe used in the pizzeria for home cooks (those of us who don't have the luxury of a high heat wood-fired pizza oven).

Unlike other pizza dough recipes, Silverton's begins with a sponge, or flour left to ferment with a bit of yeast before being mixed into the dough. Using a combination of bread flour, rye flour, wheat germ and either barley malt or honey that only a baker could come up with plus the added benefit of measuring ingredients by weight instead of volume, Silverton has created a dough that is incredibly easy to work with. It stretches like a dream and bakes up beautifully on a preheated pizza stone with that great structure that she was after in the first place.

Once you've got your dough balls ready to go (be sure to let the dough rise and rest according to the recipe for proper texture and consistency) Silverton stresses the importance of pizza making mise en place. Make sure your oven is preheated with a pizza stone on the floor and have your pizza station ready to go, toppings and all, plus a bowl of extra semolina for ease of sliding your dough from peel to stone and out again.

But really, it's all in the recipe that reads like a play by play for perfect pizza making technique and for my money it's one of the best pizza dough recipes that I've tested out at home. Of course, I have to love any recipe that tells you when to pour yourself that first glass of wine. Give it a try and let us know what you think.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Mozza Cookbook to give away this week.

Adapted from The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreño. Copyright © 2011. Published by Alfred A. Knopf. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

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